Council Mergers/Amalgamations Page


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What does this mean for Pt. Stephens?

TRRA Will be providing an in depth analysis on what the proposed Council amalgamations will mean to the people of  the Tomaree Peninsula, and an aggregation of what the media is saying about  it. This page will be regularly updated as events unfold.  TRRA says:”keep a cool head at this stage, no one really knows how this is going to work yet!”

14 Feb 2017: PSC  Press Release- Port Stephens to Stand Alone

Press Release 15 Feb 2017: Council Mergers – Expensive backflip to the status quo 

At least we know where we stand after 14 months in limbo……….!

How this page works:

TRRA have collated a lot of data on the merger process, Click on the Headings listed below to go straight to each:

 Time 1 The Merger Timeline
Govt Logo             NSW Government Proposal
PSC             Port Stephens Council Response
Council Logo NCC3             Newcastle Council Response



Council Logos Dungog 1              Dungog Council Merger Proposal
Logo IncTRRA Responses and Posts
What The Papers Say 1    What the Papers are saying

Each of these subject will be updated regularly particularly the Press Clippings. (Updated 16 Feb 2017) 

Time 1 Merger Timeline

December 18 2015: Premier Mike Baird announces 43 councils in Sydney will be merged into 25.

January 06 2016: Boundaries Commission reconstituted, delegates appointed and public inquiries announced.

February 2016: Public submissions received.

March 2016: Public hearings held. 09 March Dungog merger proposed by PSC

April 08 2016: Deadline for last submissions to inquiries. April 15: Councilors must submit expressions of interest to continue on interim councils. Late April: Recommendations from delegates go to minister.

May 12 2016: Announcement from Minister ordering mergers, dismissing councils and appointing interim staff. Some Councils have challenged legality and integrity of KPMG reports etc. that underpinned financial assumptions advanced on the financial advantages of mergers and reasons to propose them. First meetings of new Councils have been disrupted or abandoned by protesting ratepayers.

July 2016: Announcements for Councils that have taken legal action or put in alternative proposals, have been postponed until after Federal Election.

September 2016: Local government elections for new existing Councils.

February 14 2017: Council Amalgamations for Councils (like PSC) that not been merged, abandoned by Berijiklian Government after Premier Baird, Troy Grant and the Minister for local Government resign.

March 2017: Port Stephens Council Still wants to merge with Dungog Council to ‘future proof ‘ itself against future mergers with Newcastle. 

September 2017: Local Government elections for merged Councils 

September 09 2017: Elections for Port Stephens Council

Breaking News!!  Dungog Council Meltdown

Check out What the Papers are saying  and the Dungog Council Press Release

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Govt LogoNSW State Government Proposal:

Merger Boundaries

06 Jan 2016: NSW Government releases 20 page Newcastle Council/Port Stephens Council MERGER PROPOSAL

Inquiry: A public inquiry in relation to the proposal will be held under section 263 of the Local Government Act 1993 at the following time(s) and venue(s): Horizons Golf Club (Salamander Bay): Thursday, 4 February 2016, 09:00am – 12 noon   Marina Views Function Centre on the Harbour (Newcastle): Thursday, 4 February 2016 3:00pm – 5:00pm and 7:00pm – 10:00pm Members of the public who would like to attend are requested to register at or by contacting 1300 813 020.  Members of the public who would like to speak at the public inquiry are requested to indicate that they wish to do so when they register to attend.        Those considering making a submission be aware that “Submissions should refer directly to the proposal and submission authors are encouraged (but not required) to focus on one or more of the factors in section 263(3) of the Act, being:” Click Here for factors

Jan 2016 – Changes to the LG Act – Office of Local Government: Explanatory Paper: proposed Phase 1 amendments (Consultation Closed 15 March 2016)

Relevant Short Summary of the Proposed Phase 1 amendments from a Consultant Legal Firm

The Local Government NSW (LGNSW) Submission on the Proposed Phase 1 Ammendments, and the want a pay-rise as well!

 Feb 2016: Office of Local Government COUNCIL DECISION MAKING DURING MERGER PROPOSAL PERIODS  (PSC is sailing pretty close to the wind complying with some of these guidelines!)

Comment: The above links are worth a read, this reform process goes a lot further than just a few Council amalgamations and mergers and some boundaries on a map. In fact if all this gets through, our Mayor and some of our present Councilors would need to carefully assess whether they would survive in the new environment that these reforms will create………. D. A. 

Latest Council Merger Info – 12 May 2016:

Stronger Councils Stronger Communities Website: Newcastle City- PSC Councils Proposal, Delegates Report, Public Enquiry Transcripts are available to download HERE

Government Proclamation: Local Government (Council Amalgamations) Proclamation 2016 

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Council Logo PSCPort Stephens Council Response:



PS Council called an Extraordinary Meeting to discuss the Merger Proposal  Tuesday 19 January 2016 at 5.30 Pm  Our Local State Member has Asked for more consultation Council Merger Update – Kate Washington MP and called a public meeting in Raymond Terrace: HERE, Report HERE.

Port Stephens Council: web page Fit for the future – Merger Proposal   More Public Meetings have been called by the Mayor on 14 February 2016 at Tomaree Sports Complex and Lakeside Sports Complex.

PS ConversePS Converse – 5.30pm Thursdays Port Stephens FM 109 




Download Mayoral Letter (PDF 1.3MB)

PSC Media Release 19 January 2016 : Unanimous support to fight proposed amalgamation at extraordinary meeting 

PSC Media Release 09 Feb 2016: Mayor: Second Public Inquiry Misses Mark 

26 February 2016: Council Submission to Delegate Ian Reynolds:Where our $80,000.00 went!

14 Feb 2017: PSC  Press Release- Port Stephens to Stand Alone

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Council Logo NCC Newcastle City Council Response:


November 2015: NCC Port Stephens preferred partner release

18 December 2015: NCC proposed merger release

04 Feb 2016 Presentation: Newcastle City Council Presentation to Inquiry

04 Feb 2016 Submission:  Newcastle City Council | Port Stephens Council (pdf)

NCC Press Release 04 Feb 2016:  Newcastle now best performing Hunter council media release

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Council Logo DungogDungog Council Merger Proposal



Dungog Council Website: Why are our roads so bad?

09 March 2016: Port Stephens Council has submitted it’s submission for a new council: Dungog-Port Stephens. This proposal for a merger was endorsed by Port Stephens Council at its meeting on 8 March 2016.

February 2016: Port Stephens Council’s Merger Proposal for Port Stephens Council and Dungog Shire Council (PDF 4MB)

02 May 2016: Delegate’s appointment sees extraordinary meeting cancelled

August 2016: Examination of Port Stephens Council – Dungog Shire Council Merger Proposal – Report Delegate Peter Pepin

Material sent to ratepayers from PSC 12 May 2016:

Public inquiry dates and times

  • Date: Wednesday, 8 June 2016
    Time: 12 noon – 4:00pm
    Venue: Wests Nelson Bay Diggers Club
  • Date: Wednesday, 8 June 2016
    Time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
    Venue: Raymond Terrace Bowling Club
  • Date: Thursday, 9 June 2016
    Time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
    Venue: Dungog Memorial RSL Club

For more information about this process, contact 1300 813 020 or visit

25 June 2016: TRRA Submission to Public inquiry into Proposed Amalgamation of Port Stephens Council and Dungog Shire Council

Press Release 28 Feb 2017: Council to write to NSW Premier in support of voluntary amalgamation with Dungog Shire Council

Is this the new Port Stephens Promotion Logo? Dungog We Luv U

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 Layout 1 (Page 1)TRRA Responses And Posts:


****Latest Press release ****Latest Press release: ****Latest Press release
Press Release 15 Feb 2017: Council Mergers – Expensive backflip to the status quo 

At least we know where we stand after 14 months in limbo……….!

Layout 1 (Page 1) TRRA Draft Submission to Delegate inquiry – PSC/ Dungog Merger

 Posted 07 June 2016

PS CouncilOPINION: Musing on Mergers – Out of the frying pan, into…..?

Posted 31 May 2016

 *Breaking News*:  12 May 2016:  NSW Council amalgamations announced by Premier Mike Baird  

  Minutes W 26 February 2016: TRRA Submission to Delegate Ian Reynolds:

TRRA Inc. Submission to Council Boundary Review – Newcastle-Port Stephens

 Press Release W TRRA Media Release 11 April 2016: Merger Enquiry to be Kept Under Wraps

 Examiner 14 April 2016: Minister Paul Toole tight lipped on Newcastle, Port Stephens and Dungog inquiry report 

NewcastleA Quite Different Perspective – Newcastle Merger Public Inquiry meetings

Posted 09 February 2016

The other side of the story – Margaret Wilkinson

 160204 EnquiryReport on Public Inquiry into Merger Proposal

Posted 04 Feb 2016

Report on Horizons Meeting.

 Newsletter IconFebruary 2016 Newsletter – Merger  Pros & Cons

Posted 02 Feb 2016

Council Merger analysis from TRRA Management Committee

Press Release W 29 Jan 2016: TRRA Press Release

Posted 29 Jan 2016

 boxing-gloves-punching-sq1  Extra Ordinary!  Merger Meeting Report

Posted 25 Jan 2016

What is $200 K of your money going to be spent on?

 Press Release W25 Jan 2016: TRRA Press Release!

Proposed Merger Port Stephens Newcastle Council Councils

Posted 25 Jan 2016

Newsletter IconJanuary 2016 Newsletter 

More detail on merger Press Release, Public meeting dates

Posted 25 Jan 2016

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   What The Papers Say 1What The Papers Are Saying




LOCAL Papers, Radio, TV NEWS –  Updated regularly!

14 Sept 2017: Dungog decision time looming after vote

12 July 2017: Dungog voters face a poll and a referendum as well as council elections on September 9 

20 June 2017: Dungog Mayor Nancy Knudsen is getting on with the job

19 June 2017: Dungog Council ‘in denial’

06 June 2017: Dungog Council General Manager and five councillors have resigned 

Government News 16 June 2017: NSW councils fork out for forced mergers as government funding dries up

03 June 2017: Dungog Councillor Linda Bowden says she will defend a defamation case

02 June 2017: Dungog Council decided on poll questions at Extraordinary Meeting on Friday afternoon

02 Jun 21017: Michael Johnsen MP reassures Dungog Council staff

02 June 2017: Press Release – Dungog Council – Irresponsible Resignations

Meltdown at Dungog Council…….

02 June 2017: Dungog mayor and three councillors walk out, calls for state government to act after day of chaos

01 June 2017: Dungog general manager Craig Deasey and councillor Neville Bale have resigned

17 May 2017: Port Stephens mayor still wants to help Dungog despite its decision to stand alone

17 May 2017: Editorial: Move to wait on merger a risk for ratepayers 

17 May 2017: Dungog’s vote to wait on Port Stephens merger a “rebellion”

17 May 2017: ANALYSIS: No quick fix for Dungog’s ratepayers

16 May 2017: Dungog says no, again, to a merger with Port Stephens

15 May 2017: Dungog Council to vote on its future – again 

10 May 2017: Letters to The Editor – Council Merger

14 May 2017: NSW government won’t promise $15m rescue package as Dungog Council leans toward merger

08 May 2017: Port Stephens mayor Bruce MacKenzie says Dungog roads maintenance backlog is managable

01 May 2017: Dungog Shire Council will revisit the Port Stephens merger issue

01 May 2017: Dungog Council has voted not to merge with Port Stephens 

01 May 2017: Letters – Dungog Shire Amalgamation 

28 April 2017: Dungog Shire Council’s GM recommends merging with Port Stephens

26 April 2017: Tom Boorer airs his views on all things Dungog | OPINION

26 April 2017: Dungog Shire to decide its future at May 1 meeting

 Dungog Chronicle 26 April 2017: Full Page Ad referred to in above article

10 April 2017: Dungog Shire Council waits on answers from State Government about merger

21 March 2017: A large crowd is expected to attend Dungog’s council meeting tonight

20 March 2017: Coast to the Barringtons could be grand for council merge  Lisa Connors

01 April 2017: Port Stephens Council addresses Dungog, Gresford meetings on Merger

22 March 2017: Dungog open minded to Port Stephens merger, calls for compensation 

16 March 2017: Port Stephens MP Kate Washington urges mayor Bruce MacKenzie to address gravel roads

09 March 2017: Mayoral minute floats Port Stephens-Dungog merger option

09 March 2017: The Nationals’ Michael Johnsen urges Dungog to consider voluntary merger with Port Stephens 

07 March 2017: Dungog Mayor’s focus on funding for community

07 Mar 2017: Dungog mayor Harold Johnston can do without Port Stephens’ “merge or you’ll wither and die” talk | poll

06 Mar 2017: EDITORIAL: Dungog Council an obvious victim of merger reform

03 March 2017: Port Stephens and Dungog Council voluntary council merger a good idea says Bruce MacKenzie 

01 March 2017: Port Stephens Council to write to NSW Government in favour of Dungog Merger

01 March 2017: Bruce MacKenzie offers to help Gladys Berejiklian win back Port Stephens 

           PS Council Press Release: 28 Feb 2017: Council to write to NSW Premier in support of                  voluntary amalgamation with Dungog Shire Council

28 Feb 2017: Cr John Nell asks for Port Stephens Council to abandon polling days 

28 Feb 2017: Merger inquiry delegate recommended Port Stephens-Dungog merger 

20 Feb 2017: Tomaree Business Chamber ‘happy’ merger’s off, TRRA says it’s a ‘missed opportunity’ for reform


14 Feb 2017: Berejiklian abandons regional council mergers

15 Feb 2017: EDITORIAL: NSW government leaves regional councils alone

14 Feb 2017: Port to be left alone

14 Feb 2017: Cr Chris Doohan welcomes the premier’s merger announcement

08 Feb 2017: Berejiklian government searches for clear path on council mergers 

02 Feb 2017: Premier Gladys Berejiklian urged to scrap forced mergers 

02 Feb 2017 : NSW council amalgamations possible backflip faces mixed reactions across the state

: (Video): Understanding Council Mergers Amelia Thorpe – UNSW Law (click & wait for it to load)

31 Jan 2017: With legal bills growing, councils call for Certainty

20 Jan 2017: Mike Baird resignation, Hunter MPs, mayors, union officials and business people react 

20 Jan 2017: Mike Baird resigns and now John Barilaro wants to stop council mergers

20 Jan 2017: NSW council amalgamations: Nationals leader John Barilaro turns on mergers after Mike Baird resignation 

Jan 15 2017: Woollahra councillor questions spending on merger court action 

18 Nov 2016: Hunter council merger chaos to continue 

18 Nov 2016 – Editorial: Premier Mike Baird’s changes to ICAC are a bad look for this government   More HERE

Nov 14 2016: Mike Baird to continue with council mergers after Orange shock 

Newcastle Herald Nov 11 2016: Merger Decision on ice, MP says

October 21 2016: Merger Outcome No Clearer After Councils Conference – Video                     How to make friends and influence people at Newcastle Council!!

26 May 2016: Gloucester protesters stopped the inaugural meeting of their new merged council 

25 May 2016: Inner West Council’s new administrator spat on during rowdy meeting – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

25 May 2016: Questions raised over $281,000 overrun in Newcastle council monthly budget report 

25 May 2016: Port Stephens and Newcastle councils at war over new name

25 May 2016: Cr Peter Kafer slams Newcastle for name change attitude 

24 May 2016:  City to fight loss of name | poll

17 May 2016: Dungog Council is leaving the decision of a merger partner up to the community 

21 June 2016: Dungog Councillors fail to agree on Port Stephens merger

29 April 2016: Port Stephens Council wants Dungog option reviewed under threat of legal action

14 April 2016: Minister Paul Toole tight lipped on Newcastle, Port Stephens and Dungog inquiry report 

April 12 2016: Minister for Local Government Paul Toole says it’s not his job to list Dungog-Port Stephens proposal 

07 April 2016: Dungog and Maitland merger public enquiry in Dungog on Wednesday 

04 April 2016: Hunter Councillors in line for pay rise if amalgamations go ahead

04 April 2016: Port Stephens Mayor Bruce MacKenzie threatens retirement if merger goes ahead 

31 March 2016: Port Stephens Council would love to tie the knot with Dungog Shire Council in a marriage merger

** Must Read** The Conversation 30 March: Do mergers make for better councils? The evidence is against ‘bigger is better’ for local government

28 March 2016: NSW councillors told to reapply for their jobs

28 March 2016: Boundaries Commission chairman Bob Sendt says ‘priority will be to get the job done properly’

26 March 2016: Editorial: Merger puts Port between rock, hard place

26 March 2016: Port Stephens Council is under challenge over a Nelson Bay development

26 March 2016: Bruce MacKenzie interested in role on merged council 

26 March 2016: Port Stephens Council briefing descends into open warfare

25 March 2016: Great Lakes Council backs merger with Gloucester and Taree, with conditions

25 March 2016: Troy Grant says ‘wait and see’ to outcome of proposed Newcastle and Port Stephens merger

24 March 2016: Dungog and Port Stephens Council merger not on the table as yet

24 March 2016: Newcastle councillors told to apply for roles on merged council

23 March 2016: Mayor, Bruce MacKenzie and Cr Geoff Dingle in heated council debate

23 March 2016: Paul Toole breaks silence on Newcastle and Port Stephens merger in parliament debate | poll

22 March 2016: Dungog Shire Community Group to host Port Stephens Council merger proposal meetings 

March 21 – Letter From GM: Port council speaks about proposed Dungog merger

17 March 2016- Letter: Dungog Council has to amalgamate and it may as well be with Port Stephens 

15 March 2016: Morrison Low report makes case for Port Stephens merger with Dungog

07 March 2016: Petition to scrap merger between Port Stephens and Newcastle is tabled in state parliament 

03 March 2016 – Editorial: Merger aim to simplify becoming more complex

03 March 2016: Maitland-Dungog merger back on the table

03 March 2016: Office of Local Government revisits Dungog merger with Maitland

01 March 2016: Port Stephens Council collects 10,000-plus signatures to protest Newcastle merger 

24 Feb 2016: Port Stephens Council GM tells merger inquiry that Dungog a better partner

24 Feb 2016: Port Stephens Council should be one ward in a merged council, Newcastle argue

EchoNetDaily Feb 02 2016: Baird ‘splurges big’ in push for council mergers

23 Feb 2016: Tomaree Ratepayers question Port Stephens’ Fit for the Future status    (see below)

Further to the story above: 160223 Extract from PSC Long Term Financial Plan 2015

23 Feb 2016: Baldwin Slams Merger In Parliament (video)

23 Feb 2016: Clarence Town, Dungog sign petition to join Port Stephens Council area 

17 Feb 2016: Port Stephens Council schedules buses for people to attend merger inquiry 

Opinion 16 Feb 2016: Port residents will be worse off with merger 

15 Feb 2016: Port Stephens let down by government that failed to act on serious complaints

15 Feb 2016: ‘We’re the losers’: Port Stephens residents rally against merger


14 Feb 2016: Port Stephens anti-merger rallies attract hundreds despite heat.

14 Feb 2016: Port Stephens Council holds anti-merger rallies 

12 Feb 2016: Port Stephens Council to hold rallies against merger 

10 Feb 2016: Letters To The Editor

09 Feb 2016: Greens call for end to ‘political job’ amalgamations

09 Feb 2016: Dungog residents describe merger with Gloucester as ludicrous

09 Feb 2016: NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian defends merger proposal during Port Stephens visit

08 Feb: Forced council mergers will see locals losing out

05 Feb: Mystery deepens over KPMG council merger report

Newcastle Council hits back at claims of financial instability

04 Feb 2016: Port Stephens residents lash out at council merger plan

04 Feb 2016: Salamander Bay public inquiry into Port Stephens and Newcastle merger 

04 Feb 2016: Council merger would cost $20 million, Port Stephens general manager Wayne Wallis tells inquiry

03 Feb 2016: Port Stephens to argue residents will be worse off under merge

02 Feb 2016: Letters To the Editor`

“Beauty is in the eye of the Beerholder”   Jan 28 2016: Port gift gaffe sparks Australia Day storm

Jan 28 2016: The stubby holder and a timely message

28 Jan 2016: Councillor slams Aboriginal snub in government amalgamation document

27 Jan 2016: Raymond Terrace Bowling Club meeting addresses Port Stephens-Newcastle merger 

26 Jan 2016: Port Councillors Vow To Fight

Council amalgamation report ‘awash with errors

25 Jan 2016: Tomaree Residents and Ratepayers Association blasts council spend

25 Jan 2016:  Port Stephens Council to conduct survey

25 Jan 2016:  Le Mottee voices merger concern to Nationals

25 Jan 2016:  Deputy mayor puts gloves on in fight for Port Stephens 

25 Jan 2016: Public meetings held on proposed council merger

25 Jan 2016: Office of Local Government has not seen KPMG report

21 Jan 2016: Dungog Council calls for transparency over amalgamation report

NBN News (Video) 20 Jan 2016: Port Stephens Council Ready To Fight Merger With Newcastle

20 Jan 2016: Kate Washington criticises Port Stephens Council after $200k fighting fund 

19 Jan 2016: Unanimous in opposition to council merger

20 Jan 2016: Port Stephens council backs plan to fight Newcastle merger 

19 Jan 2016: Fighting Fund

19 Jan 2016: NSW Govt plan to merge Newcastle and Port Stephens councils is ‘sour grapes’, says former mayor

Jan 15 5016: Nice guy Mike Baird’s next big challenge: becoming Mr Nasty

Jan 14 2016: Government fails to make case for merger 

13 Jan 2016: EDITORIAL: Port Stephens and Newcastle council merger

13 Jan 2016: Merge purge: staff pay the price for Fit for Future savings

05 Jan 2016: ‘Stand and fight unfair merger’: Watson-Will

11 Jan 2015: Port Stephens-Newcastle merger presses pause on un-budgeted projects 

08 Jan 2016: Where will a merged Newcastle and Port Stephens council meet? 

29 Dec: Merger posses questions

22 Dec 2015: IAN KIRKWOOD: Untangling council amalgamations 

Newcastle Greens Press release 22 Dec 2016: Newcastle and Port Stephens, a mismatch made in Macquarie Street

Letters December 2015- Craig Bauman, Geoff Walker: DISMAY AT MERGER

Comments On Merger Proposal 18 Dec 2015: ABC Facebook

Dec 18 2015: Council blindsided

18 December 2015: Council mergers: Newcastle and Port Stephens merge in shock change

18 Dec 2015: Surprise council merger announcements will see Newcastle amalgamate with Port Stephens


16 November 2016: Extraordinary meeting of Port Stephens Council refused 

09 Nov 2015: Port Stephens Council say no to boundary changes

1233 Radio- 11 November 2015 (Interview):  Bruce MacKenzie tells Paul Bevan why Greg Piper’s council amalgamation plan is not for Port Stephens

03 Feb 2015: Boundaries could include Tea Gardens, Hawks Nest, Stockton, Dungog 

Maitland Mercury 26 Jan 2015: Merger discussions on council’s first agenda for new year

General Info:

Newcastle Council Website:

Port Stephens Council Website:

Dungog Shire Council Website:

WTF is ‘Fit For  The Future’ anyway?  IPART Fit For The Future

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